When talking about “conflicting culture” I automatically thought about the Roman district Pigneto. In this area I found a lot of potential for a conflict to happen, but surprisingly I did not whiteness any. Pigneto is a district with a very strong local history and even few decades ago was considered to be one of the most authentic ones. Its almost rural character of the village on the borders of the city was inspirational also for Italian film director Pier Paolo Pasolini. The good location and cheap rent soon attracted many new-coming immigrants and the demography of the place began to change. The multiculturalism and the intensive alternative art scene gave a seed for gentrification. Lot of new bars, cafes, restaurants or art galleries opened which had a massive effect to the public space.
I had a chance to observe a revitalization of a main pedestrian area of the district that, originally, hosted only few stands during a traditional morning market. After the revitalization, the same place is now filled with large benches, platforms for sitting, greenery and parking plots for bikes. This change made the terraces of adjacent little bars much more attractive, people naturally started to gather around the benches, and not only during the night time. The unemployed immigrants have now a place to socialize and together with local youngsters, elderly and parents with kids they frequently
occupy the benches during the day. The pedestrian area gained a new daily cycle; it has turned into a multi-functional place used now by different people for different purposes.
Within the time span of 24 hours there are at least three distinguished modes visible:
. 1) morning time : market with fresh fruit and vegetables, the old traditional identity of the place, visited mostly by local elderly
. 2) day time: relax on urban furniture, in the shade of trees, used by unemployed people, parents with kids etc.
. 3) night time: little bars arrange their popular terraces outside while other people can enjoy their own drinks and food on the benches
The pedestrian area and its surrounding is the core of the whole neighborhood and occasionally becomes a venue of little open air concerts, celebrations, prides or protests. It seems that the public space is now satisfying different desires and is inclusive towards various users. But as they say “not everything is gold that shines”. What about the old original inhabitants? Are they happy with this transformation? And what about
families with small kids? Don’t they find the dealing of drugs in the hidden streets disturbing or rather dangerous?